Blog content writers can take a tip or three from the laminated student guide “Writing Tips & Tricks” by quickstudy.com that I found on a carousel at the FedEx store. One idea stressed in the guide that definitely bears repeating is how important it is to use the active voice in writing. “Passive voice occurs when the subject of the sentence is the receiver of the action; active voice occurs when the subject of the sentence performs the action,” explains Quick Study, comparing the passive “The race was won by the girl” to the active “The girl won the race.”
Since one of the very purposes of business blog writing is to showcase the accomplishments of the business owners, as a general rule we bloggers need to focus on “staying active” in our content. “Sentences in the active voice have energy and directness, both of which will keep your reader turning the pages” is the advice from dailywritingtips.com.
So, is it ever OK to use the passive voice? Yes, it is, says editor and writing coach Debra Butterfield. It depends where you want to put the emphasis. If the recipient of the action is more newsworthy than the one who performed the action, she says, the recipient should take precedence. As an example, she points to the sentence, “The three year old little boy was abducted by a neighbor.” Sometimes in statistics, Butterfield points out, we don’t know who’s performing the action: “1 in 4 girls is abused before she turns 18.”
I know that in this Say It for You blog I spend a lot of time discussing the ingredients of good writing. There’s certainly a lot more to effective blogging than just the writing. Bloggers need marketing expertise and at least some degree of technical expertise. The bottom line, though, is that blogging involves the skillful use of words.
As writers, we’re constantly feeling our way, aiming for short versus. long, clear versus vague, specific versus. general, active versus. passive, and on. Whoever said corporate blog writing was an easy job? I love helping blog content writers perfect their craft. The goal – we all get better and better at sharing information with our online readers in the most impactful of ways!